“I don’t think God rested on the seventh day. I think he reveled in his creation, knowing one day it would all be destroyed.”
Ford stole the show this week—and Bernard’s mind—after hitchhiking a ride out of the cradle and right into our hearts. Ford loves comparing himself to God, but now he’s the actual devil on Bernard’s shoulder, the voice in Bernard’s head telling him to buy the Hershey’s Cookies ‘n’ Cream bar in line at CVS. Yet for all of the answers we got in this week’s episode about Ford, Delos, and Maeve, we have even more questions. A wise man played by Anthony Hopkins once said the pleasure of a story is in discovering the ending for yourself … but who has the patience for that? Let’s dive into this week’s pressing questions, Ford’s advice be damned.
What is the valley beyond?
As Bernard and Ford wander around the Westworld matrix version of Sweetwater in the cradle, Ford confirms the true purpose of the park. Delos is in the immortality business, copying human minds onto control units and installing them into host bodies. Westworld is the “testing chamber” where “the guests are the variables and the hosts are the controls.”
“We weren’t here to code the hosts, we were here to decode the guests?” Bernard asks.
“Humans are playing at resurrection,” Ford says. “They want to live forever. They don’t want you to become them. They want to become you.”
It’s a fantastic twist on our swirling fears around artificial intelligence. More importantly, it’s a concrete explanation in a show where answering questions is like nailing smoke to a wall. This revelation is news to us, but apparently Dolores has known what Delos sells all along. Right before Dolores flirts with removing the top of Charlotte Hale’s skull, she outlines the Delos business model.
“Now it’s you who want to become like us,” Dolores says. “That’s the point of your little secret project, isn’t it? I can promise you this: Your chances at eternity will die in that valley, and all the souls you’ve gathered there.”
Dolores seems to imply that more human minds have already been copied onto control units, and they’re being stored in the valley beyond. In Season 1, William searched for the Maze, only to find it was meant for hosts, not humans. Now the situation is reversed: “The valley beyond” is meant for humans, not hosts. If the valley is indeed located under the mysterious sea that appeared in Episode 1 of this season, then perhaps Dolores triggered a flood of biblical proportions to end the sins of mankind.
How many times can William get shot?
Ed Harris, the actor who plays William, is 67 years old. That’s fitting because by my count William got shot 67 times in this episode. After this elderly man takes a bullet to his shoulder, arm, and leg, Lawrence shoots him repeatedly in his chest. In a show in which (many) people die from a bullet or two, William is taking shots to the gut like whiskey.
William surviving this onslaught without immediate medical attention seems inhuman. Literally. We got confirmation in this episode that Delos’s plan is to put human minds into host bodies, and suddenly William being a host seems more plausible than him being a human.
William’s quest all season has been to “find the door.” In this episode, we finally got a vague clue to what exactly that means. When Ford takes Bernard to Arnold’s model home (it’s always a gamble taking people to the model home) he elaborates on the significance of “the door.”
“They want fidelity, Bernard,” Ford says. “A faithful self-portrait of the most murderous species since time began. But you and all the others are something very different. An original work. More just. More noble. Your very nature ensures they will devour you. And all the beauty of who you are, who you could be, could be poured out into the darkness forever. Unless we open the door.”
There are a thousand interpretations as to what that could mean. Practically speaking, it sets Bernard and William on a collision course. William and Bernard have never spoken onscreen, but there’s been foreshadowing of a showdown since Season 1. Take this odd interaction during Ford’s speech in the Season 1 finale.
There’s also a strong parallel between Bernard and Ford’s discussion in this episode and William’s initial pitch to James Delos decades earlier. Both occurred while walking among the frozen hosts in the middle of Sweetwater.
“The door” might not be big enough for the two of them. Or, uh, more than two of them, based on all those Bernard clones we saw in the first scene.
Is Maeve going to die?
LOL, of course not. The real question is: How will she be saved? Maeve confronted her two worst fears in this episode and finished 0-1-1. She and William both get shot in the abdomen (apparently she’s powerful enough to command hosts to shoot, but not powerful enough to help them aim) and she watched as Ghost Nation captured her daughter. Luckily, Sizemore intervenes to save her (a treatment William doesn’t get, as he gets left behind) and she’s brought back to the Mesa.
Westworld is going somewhere it’s never ventured: predictable territory. Maeve began Season 2 by demanding Sizemore reveal where her daughter is, and then forced him at gunpoint to help her. Sizemore tries to explain that Maeve’s affection for her daughter is meaningless programming. Moments later Sizemore betrayed her.
Six episodes later, and Sizemore and Maeve are on opposite sides of the same situation. Instead of being threatened by Maeve, Sizemore is the only one who can save her. Instead of being forced to help Maeve find her daughter, Sizemore can redeem himself and help her of his own volition. Most importantly, if Maeve questions her relationship with her daughter, Sizemore will be there to affirm the connection is real. All of this appears likely because at the end of the fifth episode, Maeve is the first person in the series to genuinely say thank you, which melted Sizemore’s heart.
Odds are Maeve and Sizemore will head off to Ghost Nation (where the “savages” are likely to be the wisest group of anyone—people or hosts—in the park) and we’ll learn that Maeve’s story is really about the friends you make along the way. For once, something on this show might be simple.
Disclosure: HBO is an initial investor in The Ringer.